India has a rich tradition of sweets with a variety of taste, texture and ingredients. Traditional milk-based sweets are generally prepared from khoya, chhena, sugar and other ingredients such as
maida, flavours and colours e.g. peda, burfi, milk cake, gulab jamun, rasgulla, rasmalai etc. In addition there are sweets containing cereal, starch or grain as the main ingredient e.g. suji halwa, moong dal halwa, jalebi, boondi laddoo, motichoor laddoo, gujiya, balusahi, soan-papdi etc. There are also sweet snacks e.g. chikki, gajak, murrunda, gudchana coated with jaggery, sugar, honey and other ingredients.
Sweets have limited shelf life. Sweets particularly those with milk products have lesser shelf life (1-4 days) and are more prone to microbial growth. Therefore sanitation and hygiene in their preparation and consumption within shelf life is of utmost importance. Moreover, there are issues of adulteration and use of sub-standard products. Concerted efforts are needed to ensure food safety of sweets by stakeholders including food business, consumers and regulatory authorities.
There are a number of issues faced in manufacture and sale of sweets. People involved in manufacture lack adequate knowledge of regulatory compliances and good hygienic practices. The packaging and labelling requirements are often neglected. Moreover there are certain issues like use of non-permitted colour, flavour or other ingredients; use of Raw Materials of poor quality for sweet manufacturing; repeated use of oil in cooking/preparation leading to increased level of trans fat which need to addressed.
FSSAI had a pilot scale survey of milk products to ascertain the quality and safety of milk products sold in and around Delhi between 15th October and 7th November 2019 coinciding with the festival season. Samples were drawn from 11 districts in multiple locations across Delhi-NCR. During the survey a total of 1041 samples (438 packed & 603 loose milk products) including khoya,
paneer, ghee and milk based sweets such as khoya burfi and chenna, chenna rasgulla were taken and tested at National Food Laboratory, Ghaziabad. For the first time. surveillance also focused on
microbiological parameters that included process hygiene and pathogens.
The survey reveals the trend that milk product samples do not have safety issues in both chemical and microbiological analysis. The samples were found to have predominantly quality and hygiene
issues with more incidences in loose samples as compared to packed ones.
First approach for a consumer to prevent an encounter of any adulterated product is to avoid purchase of loose products, as the probability of adulteration increases. The right flavour, body and texture, colour and appearance of milk products determine the quality and freshness of the milk product. Table below gives flavour, body, texture ,colour and appearance of some sweets and other milk products.
FSSAI has various interfaces where consumers can register their grievances. These interfaces are listed below:
Food Safety Commissioners of States/UTs should ensure compliance and food safety for milk products. Special drive should be conducted frequently to ensure freshness and quality of sweets sold
in retails including sweets shops, halwai shops etc.
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